The entire college football landscape could see a big shift in many different directions during national signing day based on the decisions of a few recruits.
Alabama, Ohio State and Texas A&M have some of the best classes heading into the big day, but a lot can change until then. Players already set to go to one school can change their commitment, while undecided stars can make their final decisions.
These top recruits still on the market are the ones who will be followed the most on Feb. 5 when the players officially sign their letter of intent. Of all the unaffiliated prospects, here are the ones who will have the biggest impact at the next level.
Adoree' Jackson, CB
It is usually pretty tough for undersized players to get noticed in high school. This makes it even more impressive that the 5'10" Adoree' Jackson is listed in the top 10 in most publications.
The cornerback has elite speed with a playmaking ability that allows him to score whenever the ball is in his hands. Although he could struggle against the run, his skill and natural instincts in coverage are more than enough to offset any of this weakness.
Mike Farrell of Rivals.com compared him to last year's NFL draft first-round pick Tavon Austin and believes Jackson should be used similarly:
Austin is smaller than Jackson, but not by much and if Adoree is used at cornerback, then someone will be wasting some amazing offensive talents. He is so sudden and quick in space that he reminds me of Austin out of high school and a spread offense would be perfect for him. Austin wasn't as versatile as a defender, of course, but both are also great special teams threats. If Jackson has a career similar to Austin, then whoever gets him will be thrilled to death.
Despite this endorsement, he appears set to play defense at the next level. Still, this is an area he should be able to excel at based on his knack for making game-changing plays.
Justin Hopkins of 247Sports notes that USC is likely to grab the top prospect:
Still, do not count out a cross-country commitment to Florida for the California native.
Malachi Dupre, WR
If you tried to build a perfect wide receiver, you would come close to creating Malachi Dupre. The New Orleans native has above-average size, speed and agility to be a force at the next level.
Still, his most impressive attribute is his catching ability. He can go up and grab balls at its highest point and almost always seems to come down with it.
Jason Howell of Rivals.com provided even more compliments to the talented wideout:
With playing time available, a system to thrive in and local connections, LSU remains the favorite to land the receiver. However, recent visits with staffs from UCLA, Alabama, Florida State and Ole Miss make this process a mystery.
Despite the options, it still seems most likely that Dupre will be staying in Louisiana.
Lorenzo Carter, DE/OLB
We have seen in recent years how a dominant pass-rusher can completely transform a defense. Lorenzo Carter has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and force him into mistakes, making things easier for everyone around him.
The Georgia star stands at 6'5" with strength and incredible speed for his size. His athleticism has allowed him to dominate opposing linemen to this point, but he will only get better as his technique improves.
Although it has seemed like Carter was planning on staying local with the University of Georgia, his mother expressed concern over the Bulldogs' lack of a linebackers coach at the moment. When asked about it by Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she responded:
It is a concern. You can’t really say it’s not a concern. That’s just not logical. You need to know who you are going to play under, and who is going to be your position coach. So it is a concern, but we do trust Coach Richt. But again, it is a concern. It is sitting on the backburner. It’s a huge question mark. But we do trust Coach Richt.
Despite this concern, the trust in the head coach is a good thing. The question is if the family trusts him more than the coaching staffs of Florida State, Florida, Alabama or anyone else looking for a commitment.
The fact remains that whoever gets Carter's signature will have a leg up defensively for the next few seasons.
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